CUPE 3906 Bargaining Bulletin #1 — Unit 1: TAs and RAs (in lieu)

evan3906Uncategorized

HAMILTON, ON — The CUPE 3906 Unit 1 Bargaining Team met face-to-face with the Employer’s Bargaining Team for the first time this bargaining round on June 11-12, 20, and 24, 2019.  

Your Union presented a package addressing all of the priorities that were passed at our April 15, 2019 Special General Membership Meeting, including increased funding, expanding mental and physical health and wellness supports, increasing paid training (both pedagogical and anti-oppression), better representation for indigenous members, and improved working conditions. Notably, this included expanding the ‘guarantee’ period for doctoral students to five years and providing a longer guarantee for Master’s students.

So far, the parties have made progress on several articles that address the daily function of labour/management relations, health and safety, pregnancy leave, and support for survivors of domestic assault and sexual harassment. 

The Employer also proposed a semester-long probation period, which would have allowed for the termination of contracts after the first term and, as such, increased the precarity of our situation as workers for the following 3.5 years. Thankfully we were able to push the Employer to withdraw this proposal. 

The compensation package the Employer has presented is below inflation and will effectively result in a pay decrease. The McMaster Administration has been emboldened by Doug Ford’s proposed ‘Bill 124’ and is refusing to offer anything above 1% total compensation (including wages, benefits, and other funds).

At the moment, the Employer appears committed to severely limiting improvements to our contract based on the prospect of Doug Ford’s Bill 124. We are especially disappointed not to have reached agreements on the following issues:

  • tuition waivers as an option to improve the financial situation of our members;
  • commitment to pedagogical or anti-oppression training, however there is a proposal on the
  • table to strike a committee over the next two years to determine the “feasibility” of such training; 
  • increasing the minimum number of hours on a contract from 32 to 65 (the Employer is proposing no minimum on the number of hours they’d need to assign, which will make work even more precarious); 
  • restrictions on the Employer’s ability to contract out or assign volunteers to do work normally associated with our unit (This means that they are refusing to guarantee they will not, for instance, hire an outside company to do marking for online courses or try to establish volunteer programs to conduct the services we normally do).

The employer has also proposed removing language from our Collective Agreement which recognizes a normal expectation of 10hrs/week (or 130hrs per term / 260hrs per two terms) for Unit 1 work, thus opening the door for more precarity and less job security. 

Given the pressure we are facing from the Employer’s Bargaining Team, McMaster’s Board of Governors, and the provincial government, we need your support now more than ever. 

Did you know: there are many ways that you can keep up-to-date with negotiations and support your Bargaining Team? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Download, print, and share the petition to McMaster President Patrick Deane in support of our bargaining demands.
  • Take a picture with the #BetterMac window sign and tag us on social media. Visit BetterMac.ca for a copy of the sign, or drop by the Union Office at Kenneth Taylor Hall, room B111 to participate!
  • Attend a bargaining support committee meeting and participate in bargaining support activities. Our Bargaining Team is only as strong as the members who support us, so show that support by getting involved in the committee. The next meeting is on Wednesday, July 17, from 12:30-2:00pm in Kenneth Taylor Hall, room B111.

To learn more about Bill 124 and how that impacts our union, click here.

Unit 1 is CUPE 3906’s largest unit with over 2,900 members, and includes graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants, research assistants (in lieu of a TAship), demonstrators, markers, tutors and super tutors. The current collective agreement expires on August 31.

CUPE 3906 Bargaining Bulletin #4 — Unit 3: Postdoctoral Fellows

evan3906Bargaining, Unit 3 Bargaining

HAMILTON, ON — The CUPE 3906 Unit 3 Bargaining Team met face-to-face with the Employer’s Bargaining Team for a second set of dates on June 4th and June 5th

In addition to making improvements on many of the day-to-day labour relations issues, we have secured
improvements to the ‘No Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment’ article, agreed to a new article providing protection and support for those who have suffered from domestic violence, and strengthened language on workplace accommodations. We have also secured some tangible gains – such as a tuition bursary for your dependents. We also believe that we are close to securing language that would provide guidelines and limitations on student mentorship workloads and expectations

Problematically, the Employer has tabled language that we feel would adversely affect your right to vacation entitlement and creating a situation in which days slowly accrue, making it harder to secure enough days for a sustained vacation. We’re continuing to push back against this.

We saw the Employer propose some modest increases to the Health Care Spending Account and Professional Development Fund that would fail to provide any increased entitlement for individual members.

On June 5th, however, the provincial government tabled a bill that seeks to limit total compensation increases to 1% per year over three years. This caused the Employer to withdraw their proposed increases to the Health Care Spending Account and Professional Development Fund, as well as all proposed wage increases to both the salary floor and to a yearly increase.

We want to be clear – your bargaining team takes its direction from you and is accountable to you, the members, NOT to Doug Ford!

The government has simply tabled the bill, and it has not passed into law. As such, we are looking to secure additional bargaining dates with the Employer and will continue to push hard for the gains that you have identified as being important. We will do our best to keep you updated as the situation progresses.

Did you know: there are many ways that you can keep up-to-date with negotiations and support your Bargaining Team? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Download, print, and share the petition to McMaster President Patrick Deane in support of our bargaining demands.
  • Take a picture with the #BetterMac window sign and tag us on social media. Visit BetterMac.ca for a copy of the sign, or drop by the Union Office at Kenneth Taylor Hall, room B111 to participate!
  • Attend a bargaining support committee meeting and participate in bargaining support activities. Our Bargaining Team is only as strong as the members who support us, so show that support by getting involved in the committee and meeting your peers and colleagues at the University. The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 26 from 12:30-2:00pm in Kenneth Taylor Hall, room B111.

Unit 3 is CUPE 3906’s smallest unit with just over 170 members and consists of postdoctoral fellows working at McMaster University. The current collective agreement expires on August 31.

CUPE 3906 Bargaining Bulletin #3 — Unit 3: Postdoctoral Fellows

evan3906Uncategorized

HAMILTON, ON — The CUPE 3906 Unit 3 Bargaining Team met face-to-face with the Employer’s Bargaining Team for the first time this bargaining round on May 15, 16, and 17, 2019. The Employer’s Bargaining Team consists of Faculty, Administrators, and representatives from Employee/Labour Relations.

Both parties exchanged initial proposals, and over the course of the first three days, the parties made progress in several articles that address the daily function of labour/management relations, including employee information and orientations. Our team was pleased by the Employer’s receptivity to the Union’s concerns about the need to address domestic violence and its effects as a workplace issue and with the respectable improvements made to members’ protections against harassment and discrimination.

The Union presented a full package addressing all of the priorities that were passed at the April 18, 2019 Special General Membership Meeting, including increases to wages and benefits, the introduction of a pension plan, improvements to resources (such as access to office space and professional development support), and language that would provide guidelines and limitations on student mentorship workloads and expectations.

By the end of the third day of negotiations, the Employer chose not to respond to key financial issues (i.e., salary, pensions), instead focussing largely on smaller items, harassment and discrimination protections, and health and safety. Before the end of the day on Friday, May 17th, the Union’s Bargaining Team members spoke passionately about the importance and urgency of our key priorities. We expect the Employer to respond with a more fulsome package when we meet with them again at the table on June 4th, 2019.

We have two more days scheduled at the bargaining table—June 4th and June 5th. We are committed to working toward a contract settlement at the table that materially and sincerely considers the members’ key priorities. Our Bargaining Team is ready and willing to schedule more days at the table to achieve this goal.

Did you know: there are many ways that you can keep up-to-date with negotiations and support your Bargaining Team? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Download, print, and share the petition to McMaster President Patrick Deane in support of our bargaining demands.
  • Take a picture with the #BetterMac window sign and tag us on social media. Visit BetterMac.ca for a copy of the sign, or drop by the Union Office at Kenneth Taylor Hall, room B111 to participate!
  • Attend a bargaining support committee meeting and participate in bargaining support activities. Our Bargaining Team is only as strong as the members who support us, so show that support by getting involved in the committee and meeting your peers and colleagues at the University. The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 5 from 12:30-2:00pm in Kenneth Taylor Hall, room B111.

Unit 3 is CUPE 3906’s smallest unit with just over 170 members and consists of postdoctoral fellows working at McMaster University. The current collective agreement expires on August 31.

Postdocs ratify their priorities for a BetterMac

evan3906Bargaining, Uncategorized, Unit 3 Bargaining

HAMILTON, ON — Unionized postdoctoral fellows at McMaster University voted Thursday to ratify their priorities for the 2019 round of collective bargaining with the university administration.

The key priorities approved by members are:

  1. Increasing wages
  2. Recognising family status and support
  3. Expanding workplace benefits
  4. Supporting academic and career development
  5. Creating a pension plan

These priorities emerged out of a survey circulated to members by the bargaining team back in February, which generated a record number of responses.

Zobia Jawed, CUPE 3906 Benefits Officer and member of the Unit 3 bargaining team, introduced the meeting by providing an overview of the five priorities identified by the bargaining survey, and, along with the members present, explored the content of each priority.

One of the priorities that generated plenty of discussion among members was the creation of a pension plan. “Currently, we don’t have access to a pension plan,” said Jawed. “But I want to ensure I have some amount of financial support available for me when I retire.”

The time spent on postdoctoral fellowships and other limited-term teaching and research work in Canada has been steadily increasing, and academic workers are not finding permanent jobs until later in life. As a consequence, Canadian postdoctoral fellows experience a extended periods of their career where no contributions to their retirement are being made by their employer.

“There is a very large difference in retirement savings between a worker who benefits from pension contributions immediately post-PhD, and a worker who has to wait until after their postdoc positions are over,” says Toby Brown, a member of the Unit 3 bargaining team. “It’s important that we find a way to address this earnings gap.”

“You can help us fight for your pension in this bargaining round,” added Brown, who spoke strongly in favour of the pension proposal. “Help us get over the line and secure this victory.”

With the five main priorities ratified, Unit 3 members have provided the bargaining team with a clear mandate at the bargaining table.

“In this round of bargaining, we need to come together to fight the growth of precarious work on our campus,” said CUPE 3906 President Angie Perez. “Postdocs contribute so much to the McMaster community, and they deserve support to build a family and plan for the future.”

The bargaining team will now work with CUPE 3906 staff to craft proposals that advance each of the main priorities, and these will then be presented as a package of proposals to the employer’s bargaining team when they meet in May.

Unit 3 is CUPE 3906’s smallest unit with just over 170 members, and consists of postdoctoral fellows working at McMaster University. The current collective agreement expires on August 31.


For more information:

Zobia Jawed, CUPE 3906 — Unit 3 Bargaining Team, benefits@cupe3906.org

Angie Perez, CUPE 3906 President, president@cupe3906.org

Teaching assistants ratify their priorities for a BetterMac

evan3906Communications, Unit 1 Bargaining

HAMILTON, ON — Teaching assistants at McMaster University voted Thursday to ratify their priorities for the 2019 round of collective bargaining with the university administration.

The key priorities approved by members are:

  1. Increasing funding
  2. Expanding mental and physical health and wellness supports
  3. Increasing paid training
  4. Better representation for indigenous members
  5. Improving working conditions

These priorities emerged primarily out of a survey circulated to members by the bargaining team back in February, which generated a record number of responses.

James Watson, Vice President External and a bargaining team member, introduced the discussion by highlighting the principles that motivate CUPE 3906’s bargaining philosophy, which include a commitment to “democracy,” “no concessions,” “university workers are worth it,” and “solidarity.”

Watson then walked members through the five main priorities proposed by the bargaining team, and described the motivation behind each.

One such priority is an increase in paid training, which may include anti-oppression training, expanded training in teaching methods, and other forms of professional development. Watson described the existing training system for teaching assistants as “a patchwork that varies from department to department.” The bargaining team hopes to move the university to a system where a standardized set of skills can be taught and funded by the employer.

“We are bargaining for the common good,” said Watson. “This isn’t only about TA or RA work in a narrow sense. It’s about what’s best for the entire McMaster community and what’s best for our students.”

With the five main priorities now ratified, members have provided the bargaining team with a clear mandate at the bargaining table.

“Our members are telling us loud and clear: we need more funding, and we need language that protects us from tuition hikes that will further erode our funding,” said CUPE 3906 President Angie Perez. “But if we want to make these priorities a reality and reduce precarious work on our campus, we need to come together and fight for it.”

The bargaining team will now work with CUPE 3906 staff to craft proposals that advance each of the main priorities, and these will then be presented as a package of proposals to the employer’s bargaining team when they meet in June.

Unit 1 is CUPE 3906’s largest unit with over 2,900 members, and includes graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants, research assistants (in lieu of a TAship), demonstrators, markers, tutors and super tutors. The current collective agreement expires on August 31.

 


For more information, contact:

Molle McGuire, CUPE 3906 — Unit 1 Bargaining Team, mcguire.molliec@gmail.com

Angie Perez, CUPE 3906 President, president@cupe3906.org

Bargaining Survey is live

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The link to the Unit 1 (TAs/RAs in lieu) and Unit 3 (Postdocs) bargaining survey was sent via e-mail link today. If you are a member and did not receive the link, please contact staff@cupe3906.org

Today’s survey launch event in MDCL was cancelled due to the weather, but we’ll be continuing the survey launch tour next week in ETB 230 on Tues at 11:30 and in TSH B129 on Thurs at 11:30

Bargaining Survey Launch Tour- Feb 6th, 12th, and 14th

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear TAs/RAs in lieu and Postdocs,

As you’ve likely heard already, your Collective Agreement expires on August 31, 2019 and your elected bargaining teams are preparing to negotiate a new and improved agreement over the summer months. Before they can do that, we need to hear from you!!! Our bargaining proposals are based on the priorities you identify. We’ll be releasing our bargaining survey on Wednesday, February 6th and having Bargaining Survey Launch Tour to support it and reach out to members. We’ll be making three stops around campus and we’re hoping you’ll drop in to one of them for some free pizza and to fill in the survey. The dates and locations are:
Wednesday, February 6th- MDCL 3023- drop in anytime between 11:30 and 2:30
Tuesday, February 12th- ETB 230- drop in anytime between 11:30 and 12:30** 
Thursday, February 14th- TSH B129- drop in anytime between 11:30 and 2:30
**A General Membership Meeitng will occur in ETB 230 from 12:30 to 2:30, so we’ll be on hand between 11:30 and 2:30. This meeting will feature the election of a Vice President, Unit 1 Chief Steward, and Recording Secretary**
In addition to the free pizza, anyone who comes to one of these drop-ins will be given a ballot to win a $100 grocery gift-card for Fortino’s/No Frills. There is one prize for each of the three sessions. The rooms are all in accessible locations, and childcare costs are eligible for reimbursement.
The survey gives you the chance to provide input into the things you’d like to see introduced or improved in the new Collective Agreement. Members of the bargaining teams will be on hand to chat about items you’d like to see reflected in the Collective Agreement. If you can’t attend one of these events, the e-link to the survey will also be sent on February 6th, and the survey will remain open until March 6th.
 
 
In solidarity,
Your elected Unit 1 and Unit 3 Bargaining Teams

Bargaining Teams Elected

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Congratulations to our recently elected Unit 1 (TAs/RAs) bargaining team: James Watson (Sociology), Mollie McGuire (Sociology), Avijit Mallick (Biology), Nathan Todd (Philosophy), Mehrshad Kafee (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Leah McGrath-Reynolds (Labour Studies), and Chris Fairweather (Labour Studies).

Congratulations also to our recently elected Unit 3 (Postdoctoral Fellows) bargaining team: Zobia Jawed (School of Engineering Practice and Theory), Toby Brown (Physics and Astronomy), Naveed Yasin (Chemical Engineering), and our alternate Abhinav Garg (Chemical Engineering).

Membership surveys for both Unit 1 and Unit 3 members should be out in early December.

Fight for 5 Years and Fairness

Brad WalchukUncategorized

If you were at our amazing social earlier this week (or if you follow us on social media), you would have seen our delicious 5 Years and Fairness cake and the launch of our 5 Years and Fairness bargaining campaign.

As you likely know, both Unit 1 (TAs and RAs in lieu) and Unit 3 (postdocs) are heading into bargaining next spring, and we wanted to kick off our bargaining campaign with a clear message: doctoral students need 5 years of guaranteed funding. Based on information we’ve previously gathered, the average length to complete a doctoral degree at Mac is 5.5 years. The current guarantee provides doctoral students with only 4 years, and quite simply that isn’t sufficient or reflective of how long it takes to complete a degree, as virtually any PhD student can tell you.

As the year goes on, you’ll be hearing much more about this campaign and what else it contains, but the message is simple: doctoral students deserve 5 years of guaranteed funding. It’s only fair!